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Q&A with McLaren’s Pedro de la Rosa 30 Apr 2007

Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) McLaren Test Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday, 5 April 2007

As McLaren prepare to return to the test track in Barcelona this week, resident Spanish test driver, Pedro de la Rosa, spoke to their press office about their impressive season to date…

Q: What has been the highlight from your perspective over the first three races?
Pedro de la Rosa:
The highlight is that both Fernando (Alonso) and Lewis (Hamilton) are leading the world championship and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is leading the constructors’ title. We have come out of the three opening races at the top and that means we have done a good job so far. There is still a long way to go and a lot of work to do though.

Q: How do you feel Fernando and Lewis have settled into the team now the season has begun in earnest?
PD:
Very well. It doesn’t feel, working with them or seeing how they are getting on with their engineers and the team, like these have been their first races for the team. Fernando learns anything very quickly, and Lewis has been around the team for some time. For Fernando it is incredible how quickly he has learnt everything about the team, when you consider he only had one day testing in December last year and hasn’t really had a long time with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, but he has already won a race.

Q: Do you feel the MP4-22 will allow the McLaren team to continue to fight for the championship over the whole season?
PD:
The objective is not only to continue to fight; it is to win the championships. The team that will win the championship is the team that will develop their car better and faster whilst maintaining high reliability. Our reliability so far has been good, but it is important that we continue to finish races. We have to continue with the hard work, and have to make sure that any new parts we introduce are reliable enough.

Q: What is the current focus of the development programme?
PD:
There are several to be honest. Every department of the racing operation is working flat out. There are a lot of new parts that we will introduce gradually, from aerodynamic changes to mechanical changes. It is on every single item of the car, that there will be some development coming. Everyone else is also doing this at the moment, so we will have to wait for an answer about who is developing the fastest.

Q: What is your schedule prior to the Spanish Grand Prix?
PD:
There will now be two weeks of work at the McLaren Technology Centre and Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines, I will also be at the McLaren Technology Centre for a couple of days working with the engineers and on the simulation programme. Then we move to the Barcelona test, which I will attend even though I am not driving. This will enable me to follow the development programmes we have been working on.

Q: How would you summarise the start of the season for the McLaren team?
PD:
Very consistent. We have been very solid from the start and we’ve proved people who thought that Ferrari were going to walk away with the first few races wrong. I think we have surprised many people. Fernando and Lewis have done a very good job. We are where we deserve to be, but we have to focus of making sure we maintain, well improve, our performance as a team.